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19 toxic and cruelty free beauty products – plus your questions answered

Toxic and cruelty-free beauty your questions answered - plus 19 must-have products MAIN SLIDER

Caring for the planet and loving your skin can go hand in hand. All it takes is educating yourself on what toxic and cruelty free products are out there. Healthista answers 10 burning FAQ’s plus 19 product recommendations

The importance of cruelty free and toxic free beauty has never been more popular and in demand. Savvy, urbanite consumers are switched on more than ever when it comes to investing in companies that do right by the animals, their people and the planet.

Brands now have to be consciously mindful and transparent when out comes to their products and customer satisfaction.

Remember, every time you endorse something with your hard earned cash, you are funding and allowing it to continue its practice.

It is super easy and extremely accessible to make the switch so what’s stopping you? Opting for toxic and crueltyfree beauty products is not only better for your overall health and your skin but it’s also better for the planet and all of its inhabitants.

So, why should we all be making the switch to cruelty free products?

  • Ethics – animal testing is cruel and unnecessary.
  • You will be supporting improved business practices and doing your bit to help the planet.
  • Cruelty and toxic free products are healthier and safer for your skin and health.
  • You have the power to create a change for good.

Healthista wanted to take a deeper dive into the beauty products that you should be purchasing, by learning what she should and shouldn’t be putting on our skin.

Dr. Paula Morgan, is a board-certified dermatologist and medical advisor for –  an independent organisation that audits the ingredients in for safe care products.

As a clinician, Paula has worked with many people suffering from skin and scalp issues directly linked to the products they use every day.

For many people with skin issues, simply swapping out their products for cleaner options makes a huge difference to their symptoms.

When researching the topic, Paula discovered that many products we use on a daily basis are having an affect on us that we are totally unaware of.

In a bid to help spread the message and help people choose safer products, Paula answers some key FAQ’s surrounding how to buy safe beauty cosmetics…

Question #1 What toxins in products should we avoid or look out for & what are their dangers?

The number one ingredient I’d recommend looking out for is parabens. These synthetic preservatives have been linked to cancer, and are found in a large percentage of breast cancer samples.

There are much safer alternatives and many brands are moving away from them.

I also recommend avoiding any product with chemical SPF, often found in your sunscreen. Chemical UV absorbers have been found to absorb into the bloodstream, where they accumulate and have unknown effects on the body.

Alternatively, mineral sunscreens that use the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide physically sit on the skin and reflect the suns rays, and will not absorb into the bloodstream.

READ MORE: 7 environmentally friendly product swaps you didn’t know you needed


Question #2 How do we know if the product contains toxic ingredients?

Doing your own research is key if you want to avoid toxic ingredients. We must educate ourselves on which ingredients should be avoided in the first place.

Question #3 How can we educate ourselves on using non-toxic products?

At Better Goods, we regularly write on the topic and have many guides and informational resources for people who wish to avoid non-toxic products and lead a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re a beginner or have experience shopping for non-toxic products, it’s the best resource.

Question #4 What certifications and symbols should we look out for on products?

Organic certifications are a good place to look. In the United States, the USDA certifies products as being organic. If you’re looking at a product that claims to be organic but you don’t see the USDA certified organic logo, be aware that the product might not actually be organic.

Symbols like the PETA and Leaping Bunny logos signify that the products are not tested on animals, but this in no way means that the products are safe or non-toxic.

READ MORE: Made In Chelsea’s Lucy Watson talks to Healthista about being vegan and her new cruelty free lipstick range

cruelty free toxic free beauty

Question #5 Why is it so important to avoid toxic products and shop toxic-free?

We’re only just starting to realise the negative impact of the toxic ingredients  found in our products.

There are ingredients used in everyday products that can harm our bodies in many ways, such as disrupting our reproductive system, causing allergic skin reactions, lowering IQ in children, and even potentially causing cancer.

Not only that, but many of these ingredients are also toxic to the environment, so by using them we’re not only harming ourselves but aquatic life too as these ingredients find their way into our water supply.

Question #6 How bad are toxic products for skin?

Contact dermatitis is a common ailment often triggered by the ingredients in skincare products. This condition is a rapid onset skin irritation often resulting in redness, rashes, itching and sometimes even pain.

Another example is shampoos with harsh sulphates, which can dry and damage the hair over time, resulting in limp, lifeless looking hair.

READ MORE: In what order should I apply my skincare products?


Question #7 What are the long term health risks associated with using toxic products?

Long-term studies on the potential risks of toxic products are few and far between.

However, there are many studies linking toxic ingredients to adverse health effects, and although in many cases there’s no concrete proof that the long-term use of a specific product will cause cancer, my philosophy is that if we can avoid them, why not do that and ensure we stay safe?

Question #8 What are the best apps that tell you if a product is toxic-free?

Better Goods is the best resource for finding products and understanding if they’re clean.

We analyse every ingredient in a product, referencing studies and publicly available information to audit them and give them a rating based on their safety.

Question #9 How can we help spread the importance of toxic and cruelty free beauty?

Do your own research and then tell all of your friends and family about it. It’s important not to be preachy – don’t tell them they’re doing something wrong, but rather tell them about your own experiences and research.

No one wants to be told they’re doing something wrong, or buying the wrong products. Lead by example, and you’ll be able to spread the word.

Question #10 What are some of the best cruelty free and toxic free brands?

Personally, I’m a big fan of the brand Acure. They’re an affordable clean brand, perfect for many people as they strike the perfect balance between price and clean ingredients.

For cleaners, I’m a fan of Dr. Bronner. They make organic soaps that can be used to clean yourself or your home, with all natural ingredients.

It’s all about natural, clean beauty, organic where possible and always cruelty free.

Healthista’s tried and tested toxic & cruelty free top picks…

#1 Evolve Skincare

The best of British – award-winning natural skincare handmade with love in small batches, to ensure fresh antioxidants in their natural oils, butters and extracts.

Vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly. Their product range covers everything from skin, body to hair.

evolve beauty skincare

Their Bio-Retinol + C Booster, £28 supercharges your skin, using four incredible vitamins (A, C, F and E) blended into a gentle base of Rosehip Oil, that penetrates deeper than your typical water based products.

Vitamins C and A delivers anti-ageing benefits, increases collagen production and hydration whilst boosting radiance and skin luminosity. Vitamin E, rich in antioxidants and healing on the skin, vitamin F deeply nourishing.

Their tinted SPF, Climate Veil, £29 is available in four shades that combines high tech anti-ageing ingredients such as polyphenol-rich Lingonberry stem cells and hyaluronic acid, with reef safe, non-nano mineral-based zinc oxide to deliver a lightweight broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Lastly, their Radiant Glow 2-in-1 Face Mask and Polish, £25 is a super rich mask blended with raw cacao powder and clay, revitalises and purifies, whilst coconut particles buff the skin to silky perfection.

Skin is left smooth, moisturised and calm, with a smell of Organic Vanilla oil.

#2 Nourish London Skincare

Nourish London is an award-winning, clinically tested certified organic, vegan and cruelty free skincare range that is powered by plant-based ingredients.

Full of passion, potent quality, innovation and advanced science, their products leave you with radiant, beautiful skin, via natural organic fragrances and pure essential oils.

Founded and created by Dr Pauline Hili, is one of the UK’s top organic skin care experts and fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry.

Nourish London is a culmination of all her knowledge of the skin functions and expertise in developing high-tech natural and organic formulations that deliver visible results and nurture skin in the most natural way possible.

We recommend their Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask, £25 and their Radiance Rejuvenating Peptide Serum, £25

Nourish London Group Image

#3 Naya, Aura Hydration Essence, £72

naya aura essence

Award-Winning luxury skincare that is consciously crafted and highly effective, with ingredients that are scientifically proven to work.

Grounded in research, organic, vegan, cruelty free, and clinical proven full of nourishing bioactive that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids.

A multi-functional, intensively hydrating formula designed to restore, rebalance and re-harmonise the skin’s microbiome and strengthening the skin barrier.

The potent formula penetrates deep into the epidermis. Powerful antioxidants including Butterfly Flower Extract and Superoxide Dismutase work to bolster the skin barrier whilst providing protection from external aggressors.

#4 Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, £185

Vinters daughter SERUM

If you feel like spoiling yourself this is the most luxuriously, premium serum money can buy. An oil like consistency, formulated with 22 of the world’s most nutrient-rich botanicals for nourishing and restorative moisture.

With a proprietary Phyto Radiance Infusion™ process of botanical and essential oils amplifying performance and treats virtually any and all skin concerns.

Delivering 60+ restorative nutrients including restorative phytoceramides and phytonutrients, balancing minerals, brightening vitamins, free-radical fighting antioxidants, moisturising fatty acids and nourishing omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 to revitalise, soothe, and provide a healthy radiance.

#5 Croma Puffy Eyes Serum, £109

croma skincare

Croma Pharma is an Austrian family-owned company that specialises in the industrial production of hyaluronic acid syringes for the fields of medical aesthetics, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.

Croma Puffy Eyes Serum fights to reduce puffiness under the eyes, reduce the appearance of dark circles and erase fine lines (crow’s feet).

The effective formulation contains Hyaluronic Acid, D-Panthenol and a complex of Ash Tree Bark Extract, organic Silicon and Vitamin B3 to rejuvenate the skin and give it a radiant appearance whilst also giving a cooling effect to the area.

#6 Epionce Skincare 

Epionce was created by Dr Carl Thornfeldt integrating over 20 years of clinical research. Epionce has been designed to provide a blend of key botanical ingredients whilst being paraben, fragrance and gluten free.

Epionce uses science to address skin care needs and leave you with rejuvenated skin.

This clinically proven Intensive Nourishing Cream, £95 contains maximal levels of key complexes that work to penetrate through the skins barrier to intensively hydrate, repair and strengthen, and dramatically erase fine lines and wrinkles.

Containing powerful botanicals such as watermelon, astragalus and cacao combined with algae extracts, the Epionce Luminous Eye Serum, £62 decreases puffiness, smooths fine lines and wrinkles, treats droopiness and works to boost the skins hydration levels. The formulation is gentle enough to ensure the delicate eye area is not irritated.

#7 Freshly Cosmetics

freshly cosmetics serum cruelty free

High quality, natural products that are effective and innovative, covering everything from your skin to your hair.

They also have the highest eco-innovation standards, with 100 per cent vegan and cruelty free products that contain more than 99 per cent natural ingredients free of synthetic components.

In fact, 95 per cent of the packaging is made of 100 per cent recyclable glass, aluminium, kraft and wood.

We recommend their Red Velvet Facial Oil, £35 and Vitamin C Serum, £35

#8 INUR Skincare 

Formulated in Korea by French skincare experts and nutritionists, INUR focuses on ‘after-hours’ skincare which works as you sleep. It is a skincare brand where nutrition meets beauty.

Using only natural and clean skin nourishing ingredients, such as aloe vera, matcha (from Jeju Island – an UNESCO world heritage site to ensure premium quality), and pre and probiotics, which are all rigorously tested and clinically proven to actively work with the skin’s own natural system.

The Renew Sleeping Mask, £32 works overnight to erase to restore, revive and refresh the skin, and contains Aloe Vera, Matcha, Pre and Probiotics, with AHA to give a radiance-boosting bouncy glow.

Their Replenish Night Shot, £28 is a skin quenching, moisture-boosting night serum. Gives hydration and a plumper-looking skin with Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid. One application of Replenish Night Shot is activated by 30 per cent of concentrated Aloe Vera.


#9 Oodee Skincare

Looking for something different, innovative, gender neutral and environmentally sound. Oodee is the new kid on the block of Allergen Neutral Skincare.

If you suffer from allergies and skin triggers, irritations and flare-ups, this is the range for you. Pioneering a new category, science driven formulations are the industries first ever empowering people to take back control and male better choices for their skin.

Full of potent, quality plant-based ingredients, rich in multivitamins, vital nutrients, superfoods and potent actives that are scientifically proven to optimise your skins health and appearance, with just a three step low maintenance skin care routine.

oodee skincare toxic free

Oodee Aurora Perfecting Serum, £65 is an ultra-light serum, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, helps in boosting skin’s natural ceramides. Skin is left smooth, firm and dewy.

The NOVA Illuminating Moisturiser, £55 powered by plants and ancient grains, this is your daily energy boost for the skin. Targeting fine lines, evens out skin tone for a luminous, silky and clarified complexion.

And skincare for the men? #10 Jason Skincare


Jason is the UK’s number one natural family skincare brand that is 100 per cent Vegan and Cruelty Free.

Jason’s new range for men is dual action and packed with wonderful, skin loving ingredients. We personally love using it unisex style as the products are multi-purpose, yet highly effective.

All dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, without the use of SLS/SLES, leaving your skin cleansed, soft, smooth and fresh. These plant-based formulas are full of ocean minerals, powerful essential oils and botanicals.

JASON says no to: parabens, sulphates, phthalates or petrolatum. High-performance products, wholesome ingredients inspired by nature.

Back to the women #11 Scentiana Luxury Body Care

If you are into the finest, most luxurious smells that literally take you to paradise, then Scentiana is the heavenly, innovative body care line for you, that helps to nourish your body and balance your emotions.

Intelligent formulas combining precious stones, vitamins, homeopathic remedies and high grade aromatherapy. Your body will feel divine and your mind will thank you for it.

All formulated by the multi-award-winning botanical expert, Denise Leicester and is the brain child of model and entrepreneur Tatiana Korsokova.

Scentiana cruelty free toxic free skincare

A heavenly body balm like no other, the Rescuing Body Balm, £110 is luxuriously potent upon opening. Sensual, warm and deep, full of vitamin E, A, Omega Fatty Acids, Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatories.

Let the sensual experience continue with this rich and creamy Replenishing Body Cream, £85. A true scent sensation that caresses your skin with essential oils of Damascus Rose, Indian Jasmine Grandiflorum and deep balsamic Sandalwood.

Full of plant stem cells, hyaluronic acid, sea plankton algae, aloe vera, sheer butter, and wild grown argon oil this truly is the epitome of luxury, rejuvenation and indulgence for your skin.

#12 Wings of Wisdom Aromatherapy


Lit with intention; Wings of Wisdom present their consciously-crafted perfumed candles, designed to illuminate a positive path.

We recommend the Thrillsome Trio, £80 – 100% natural candles.

Each candle comes housed in a precious and reusable fine bone china vessel, handmade with 22-carat gold hand applied using traditional techniques including symbols and icons inspired by the sacred feminine moon, the ever watchful eye of consciousness and the radiant sun.

Crafted with sustainability in mind, the perfumed candle wax is paraffin-free, made with a luxury natural wax blend of rapeseed oil, vegetable oil and trace amounts of mineral wax to support the hot throw.

#13 Yoga My Life

yogamylife candels

A new natural vegan skincare and therapeutic wellness range that is bursting with botanicals, natural oils and mood enhancing aromatics that are coupled with positive affirmations and life affirming mantras for beautiful skin and a renewed sense of inner calm.

Infused with Moroccan Argan Oil and blended with natural Shea Butters, Jojoba Oil, botanicals and essential oils, Yoga My Life’s Afterglow Pouring Massage Candles are 100% plant based, vegan friendly, handmade and hand-poured in the UK,  melting into a sumptuous warm therapeutic massage oil that penetrates deep into the skin to leave it feeling nourished, soft and silky smooth with no oily residue.

We recommend the Pouring Massage Trio Bundle, £42, we also love their Replenish & Repair Night Oil, £49

#14 Vapour Beauty 

Environmentally conscious and super clean, this is the skin are make-up that nourishes and soothes. Using organic, cruelty free formulas you can trust, along with stunning pigments that sit beautifully on your skin, natural, glamorous and effective.

vapour cosmetics toxic free make up

Sustainable formulations, with ethics and love for the planet, this company really is the epitome of being ‘woke’. The ingredients are truly remarkable, with a lot of integrity and care.

Vapour is truly passionate about making a difference in the work of clean make-up and providing you with the creme of the crop for your skin and beauty needs.

Vapour Beauty Bronzing Powder Eclipse, £35 – fine milled, mica based based, packed with natural ingredients, amino acids and plant-derived squalene, you’re left with a stunning glow and improved skin texture.

Free from your mainstream foundation nasties, this Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation, £50 is a dual purpose skincare foundation, infused with the brand’s ‘Fine Art Color’ to even tone and mask imperfections, while infusions of Frankincense, Tulsi and Lotus extracts soothe and protect. Lightweight, creamy, bendable and buildable.

#15 Mellow Cosmetics

mellow lipstick

Mellow is an Australian cosmetic brand, leading the way with an innovative range of products and a strong mission to provide luxurious, fun and on-trend makeup that is ethical – cruelty free, vegan and paraben-free.

The end result of Mellow Cosmetics is the perfect formula that works!

#16 B’KATE Cosmetics

b kate cruelty free and toxic free make up

A new collection of high performance, vegan, cruelty free and gluten-free Brow Cosmetics from the Netherlands that has just launched in the UK.

High performance and professional quality, vegan brow cosmetics include, Brow Pencils, Brow Gels, Brow Oils, Eyebrow Brushes and accessories for beautiful defined brows.

#17 JVN Hair

Did you know that your hair burns just like your skin? It is just as important to protect your hair and scalp from damaging UV rays just as much as you would with your face and body and here are the products that help you do exactly that…

jvn skincare

JNV Complete Instant Recovery Hair Serum £24 – not only does this serum protects your hair from environmental damage, it also repairs and seals splits ends, and protects against heat damage up to 230°C. With lemon protein and hemisqualane.

JVN Complete Air Dry Cream £21 – this styling cream is adds buildable hold, shine and reduces your frizz while simultaneously protecting your hair against humidity and UV damage, packed full of chia seeds, linseed and hemisqualane.

#18 Nailberry L’Oxygéné , Breathable Nail Polish

Natural nail polish, that is cruelty and toxic free, but one that does chip on the first days ware is hard to find – well we found it!

After trying many brands we found Nailberry stood the test of time like no other. Luxury, high quality, award-wining, vegan polishes that are oxygenated and water permeable, using their patented technology that does not compromise on colour, consistency and ware.

A fantastic range of colour with some of the most flattering nudes you will find – elegant and chic. What’s even more impressive is the incredible selection of their nail care treatment range, consisting of enriched formulas using açai extract, argan and sweet almond oils, antarctic algae, keratin peptides and more.

Bottom line is long-ware, high shine, keeping your nails healthy and strong with no compromise.

nailberry cosmetics

#19 Abel Odor, £130

Sustainably produced, unisex, 100 per cent natural perfume without compromising on ethics or aesthetics.

‘There’s no labelling requirements in the perfume world and as a result, very few people realise what’s in their perfume bottle,’ explains Frances Shoemack, Founder and CEO of Abel Odor.

toxic free and cruelty free beauty ABEL FRAGRENCE

‘Most are disturbed to find out their conventional perfume is basically a toxic soup.

‘More than 95 per cent of fragrance ingredients are crude oil derived (because these chemicals make perfume cheaper and easier to make) and therefore not biodegradable in the ecosystem. I don’t think any of us really want to be spraying petrochemicals into the environment.

‘Because it’s unregulated, very little testing happens in perfumery also. Of the 20 per cent of ingredients that have ever been tested, many have shown to be endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic.

‘This doesn’t mean all perfume ingredients are evil, but at Abel we really believe you deserve to know what ingredients you’re putting on your skin.

‘Our mission is to create the world’s best 100 per cent natural perfume, beautiful fragrances that leave no trace of toxic chemicals on your skin or sprayed and washed off into the environment.

‘Because we have a 100 per cent natural philosophy, we are always honest about our ingredients and happily label our products – we hope it sets an example for better transparency in the industry’.

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